Airbnb and Cities

Is Airbnb really about sharing, or are they about big business and profitmaking?

We talk to Professor Nicole Gurran from Sydney University’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning about the impact of online home-sharing platforms for global cities like Sydney.

Short term rental websites have certainly transformed the way we travel around the world. More than 150 million people have already stayed in an Airbnb home and you can choose from over 3 million homes listed in more than 190 countries. That’s more than the world’s largest hotel chains, such as the Marriott and Hilton.

But by reimagining local residential homes and bedrooms as potential tourist accommodation, Airbnb and others might also be transforming local communities. These global digital tech operators are operating beyond the established tourist quarters of many cities, and in some places, they’re trying to bypass existing urban planning and building management controls.

So not everyone is convinced of the local benefits that these global digital tech operators promote. In fact, there’s increasing opposition to so-called “holiday home-sharing” platforms from local residents and authorities throughout North America, Europe, and Australasia.

There are concerns about the influx of tourists, and along with them, increasing noise, rubbish and traffic congestion. Then there’s the declining business for local tourist operators and a decrease in permanent rental accommodation in major global cities.

Nicole has published widely on urban and housing issues. Read more about Nicole’s work on Airbnb and cities here:

When Tourists Move In: How Should Urban Planners Respond to Airbnb? in the The Journal of the American Planning Association
Australian governments are treading lightly around Airbnb in The Conversation

Music via Free Music Archive: Catching Feathers RMX by Ketsa

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Stories about cities and urban life.

A podcast from the researchers at the Urban Housing Lab within the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at The University of Sydney. We broadcast around Australia on the CRN.

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